It’s funny how life happens. When I started thinking about writing on this topic I wanted to focus on telling about my journey to personal freedom. I had an outline all planned, points ready to explicate, and a directive all thought out. Then on Saturday as I was coming back from taking pictures, I got a call that my father, who is 51 years old, had a heart attack. Part of me wanted to panic, the other wanted to cry, but I stopped and asked is he ok? If you know my dad then he’s probably the most outgoing person you’ve ever met, seriously I’m pretty sure there’s not friendlier human being.
Yes, he’s ok; he’s home on a mandated 2 days of rest.
What I took away most from the news was that living your life to the FULLEST every day is the most important thing to do. My dad has dedicated his life to ministry, education, and being a great husband and father and although we know it wasn’t his time to go if he did he would have a left a legacy of passionate pursuits.
So I was inspired, honestly. I was at no time in fear of losing him because I knew his purpose had not yet been fulfilled.
But that brings me back. Why was I so inspired? After he was able to talk with me, the first thing he said was, “TT, I have a test on Monday!” I scolded him initially and reminded him that he was still in a hospital bed. But as much as he needs to slow down and create some balance, his tenacity and fervor were inspiring. Despite his circumstance, he wanted to get back immediately to doing what he loved. Now please realize, in all wisdom, he will not be going anywhere for a while. But I did really stop to look myself and think, am I really that passionate about anything? Am I really living my life in pursuit of real dreams and aspirations? Not just in word but in deed.
I recently read Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, which I HIGHLY recommend to everyone. In the book, she too was forced to change after being confronted by her lackluster attitude towards life, despite her tremendous success. Please read it, it’s so great.
I realized that I am way too young to slide into that mentality. I am young, successful, and even beginning to prosper, but I am living nonchalantly, without passionate pursuits of purpose and destiny. At this age, it’s easy to do. Mid-twenties starting a family and looking to make big career moves, so it’s easy to prioritize practical over passion because it sounds like the responsible adult thing to do. But there is a balance that one must reach so that passion can be the only pursuit (I’ll be talking about this next time)
And so, like Shonda, I decided that this year was going to be different. This year had to be different. I’ve spent so much time worrying about others and their opinions, that I’d become a prisoner to prescribed expectations. I stopped thinking for myself and took every chance to let someone else make a choice for me. I was following a path that would lead to success but not true happiness.
People quote Bob Marley all the time when he said, “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our minds,” but for the first time I finally understand his words.
I could’ve lost my Dad on Saturday but I didn’t. So what I know now is we must all look at every day as a chance to start new and do better than yesterday. Learn from past mistakes, grow from poor choices, and look internally to make sure that you are being real with who you are as an individual.
I have officially begun my Year of Freedom because rather than simply saying yes, I allowing myself to say yes on my terms. The world around us has truly become a scary and often unwelcoming place, especially for those who don’t fit certain socialized norms. However, freedom comes when you don’t conform to those ideas without first thinking for yourself and make conscious choices that are beneficial to you first.
Yes, you first.
We spend so much time being responsible for others that we often stop caring for “self.” You can’t be any use six feet under, so as Shonda says, “Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.”
That’s what Freedom is all about.
When getting to this place, you can achieve, succeed, lead, and live. When you get here you can truly attain purpose and might even find yourself guiding someone else to the light.
MY Directive: Live your best life now uninfluenced by harmful prescriptions and toxic words, live freely to attain your divine purpose.
Photos taken by Javaun Lindo. But you knew that 🙂